Listen Your Way to Better Sleep with Audiobooks

Since there’s nothing better than curling up in bed with a good audiobook, we’ve created a new genre of top titles that are perfect for bedtime listening. From mindfulness and meditation lessons to hand-picked bedtime stories, there’s something for every nighttime listener. Plus, our handy sleep timer will snooze your audiobook when you snooze.

Learn more about Audiobooks.com’s sleep timer below and check out our top picks of audiobooks that will help you get a great night’s sleep.



How to use Audiobooks.com’s sleep timer


1) Open up the Audiobooks.com app

2) Navigate to the audiobook you’re listening to

3) Tap the moon icon at the bottom of the screen

4) Simply select the amount of time to play your audiobook for as you fall asleep, hit “Apply,” and the audiobook will automatically pause when your sleep timer is up



Guided meditations for better sleep


Sleep Well: Guided Relaxations and Meditations for a Good Night’s Sleep by Sue Fuller, narrated by Sue Fuller

Publisher Summary:

Sleep is vital for health and well-being. Sleep Well contains six different guided audio practices that have been devised specifically to help relax both body and mind and encourage restful sleep so that you wake feeling refreshed, recharged, and rejuvenated. They are to be followed at the end of the day prior to falling asleep or if you wake during the night and struggle to go back to sleep. These audios will encourage deep relaxation. By making relaxation your goal, falling asleep becomes so much easier.

Sleep Well contains “Relaxations for Sleep,” “More Relaxations for Sleep,” and “Meditations for Sleep,” all by leading yoga teacher Sue Fuller. “Relaxations for Sleep” contains two different thirty-minute guided relaxation sessions that will deeply relax your body and mind, leading you into a fantastic sleep from which you will wake feeling calm, refreshed, and revitalized. “More Relaxations for Sleep” also contains two thirty-minute guided relaxation sessions created to clear your mind, relax your whole body, and lead you into a fantastic, deep, refreshing sleep. “Meditations for Sleep” contains two thirty-minute guided meditation sessions created to help relax and clear the mind, so that the body can relax, sleep hormones will be produced, and falling asleep is achievable.

Read more and sample the audio →


Guided Meditations for Sleep, Anxiety and Self Healing Bundle: 3 Beginners Scripts for Stress Relief, letting go, having a quiet Mind in difficult Times and overcome Trauma by Mindfulness Meditation Academy, narrated by Jane Lee

Publisher Summary:

Defeat anxiety, reach deep sleep, and heal yourself with this Guided Meditations Bundle! Listen to the calm voice and beat of this 3 in 1 guided meditations bundle to heal yourself and relieve stress in a few minutes!
Guided meditations play an important role when it comes to self-healing and anxiety relief practices. Listening to a soft voice guiding you through the practice is the best way to get the most out of your meditation session.

Jane, our narrator, will guide you with the calm tone of her voice, allowing you to heal yourself reaching deep levels of relaxation and relief.

Read more and sample the audio →


Yoga Nidra for Sleep: Guided Meditation for Deep, Transcendental Sleep by Mindfulness Habits Team, narrated by Loula Taylor

Publisher Summary:

Do you want to access the deepest states of relaxation?

Yoga nidra, otherwise known as “sleep of the yogis,” is an accessible meditation practice that cultivates wellbeing on multiple levels. This simple practice of guided, deep relaxation promotes deep rest.

The technique incorporates a detailed body scan with awareness placed on the breath and the sensation of relaxation, part by part. Yoga nidra helps to calm the nervous system, reduce your stress level and enhance general health.

The easiest way to accommodate a yoga nidra practice is to make it part of your daily bedtime routine as a way to help you unwind for the night. Even if you fall asleep, you’ll still receive benefits as the unconscious mind continues to absorb this powerful practice.

Yoga nidra provides you with a space to relax and fully embody your physical and subtle bodies, as well as an opportunity to let go of any long-held emotions that arise. Each of the 3 guided meditations is 20 minutes long and features three soothing background music options, enabling you to customize the meditation to your preference.

Even if you’re new to meditation, this book can help you create a life-changing practice that allows you to relax more profoundly and be more energetic and effective during your waking hours.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Best Guided Sleep Meditation for Insomnia: Fall Asleep Fast and Get a Full Night’s Rest with Deep Relaxation Techniques by Peace Found Now, narrated by Zachary Miulli

Publisher Summary:

The Best Guided Sleep Meditation for Insomnia: Fall Asleep Fast and Get a Full Night’s Rest with Deep Relaxation Techniques by Peace Found Now is an in-depth, guided meditation designed to help anyone having trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, or other symptoms of insomnia get the deep, refreshing sleep that we all need. This helpful audiobook features relaxation techniques, an extended guided meditation, and a dream sequence with a soothing voice and peaceful music. The techniques will completely calm and relax your mind and body so that you can get the sleep that you need. The audiobook can be used in a private setting or taken with you when you travel. You may even enjoy the guided meditation with a friend. It will always be available for your use whenever you need help falling asleep.

Read more and sample the audio →



Bedtime stories for adults


Bedtime Stories for Grown-ups by Ben Holden, narrated by Gareth ArmstrongSandra DuncanLuke ThompsonEsther WaneBen Holden

Publisher Summary:

There are few more precious routines than that of the bedtime story. So why do we discard this invaluable ritual as grown-ups to the detriment of our well-being and good health?

In this groundbreaking anthology, Ben Holden, editor of the bestselling Poems That Make Grown Men Cry, challenges how we think about life, a third of which is spent asleep. He deftly explores not only the science of sleep but also why we endlessly tell stories—even to ourselves, as we dream.

Holden combines his own illuminating storytelling with a treasure trove of timeless classics and contemporary gems. Poems and short stories, fairy tales and fables, reveries and nocturnes—from William Shakespeare to Haruki Murakami, Charles Dickens to Roald Dahl, Rabindranath Tagore to Nora Ephron, Vladimir Nabokov to Neil Gaiman—are all woven together to replicate the journey of a single night’s sleep.

Some of today’s greatest storytellers reveal their choice of the ideal grown-up bedtime story: writers such as Margaret Drabble, Ken Follett, Tessa Hadley, Robert Macfarlane, Patrick Ness, Tony Robinson and Warsan Shire.
Fold away your laptop and shut down your mobile phone. Curl up and crash out with the ultimate bedside book, one you’ll return to again and again. Full of laughter and tears, moonlight and magic, Bedtime Stories for Grown-ups joyfully provides the dream way to end the day—and begin the night.

Read more and sample the audio →


Penguin Sleep Tales: Ten stories to help you relax at night and encourage better sleep by Penguin, narrated by Sally Scott

Publisher Summary:

How often do you think about your bedtime routine?

Almost half of people in Britain say they’re kept awake at night due to worry and stress—so making time to switch off in the hour before bed is more important than ever.

Penguin Sleep Tales are ten specially designed descriptive audio tales to help you wind down and relax before you drift off.

Developed with The Sleep Council, each track will transport you to a different location, encouraging you to visualise calming settings and landscapes to ease away the day’s anxiety or worry and get you in the right frame of mind for sleep.

Lie in a hammock on a tropical beach, relax by a campfire or shelter from a distant thunderstorm. These mindful tales are read slowly and soothingly, accompanied by relaxing sounds of nature.

One has been specially designed to appeal to those with Auto Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), a physical reaction to sound which can be particularly relaxing.

Create a focused, peaceful environment so you can get a deep, natural night’s sleep and wake up refreshed in the morning. The perfect de-stressor after a long day.

Each track is 15 minutes long, so you can put your sleep timer on for any duration with no need to return to the screen.

So dim the lights, and get ready for a good night’s rest.

Includes ten relaxing tales: ‘Wakarango Mai’, ‘Hammock on a Distant Shore’, ‘The Purring Temple’, ‘Pegasus in the Night Sky’, ‘Dancing Flames’, ‘A Bothy in a Storm’, ‘The Warm Smell of Hay’, ‘Travel on the Overnight Train’, ‘The Magic Bookshop’ (ASMR story) and ‘Yara’s Song’ (inspired by the Brazilian folk tale ‘The Story of Yara’).

Read more and sample the audio →


Sherlock Holmes: Valley of Fear: Book at Bedtime by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, narrated by Ian McKellen

Publisher Summary:

Sir Ian McKellen reads The Valley of Fear, the last of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s four Sherlock Holmes novels. The mystery begins with a coded warning of imminent danger, drawing the illustrious Sherlock Holmes and the faithful Dr. Watson to a secluded English country home. A trail of bewildering clues leads to sleuthing in the finest Holmesian tradition and the gripping backstory of a cult that terrorized a valley in the American West. First broadcast as Book at Bedtime on BBC Radio 4.

Read more and sample the audio →


Bedtime Stories for the Overwhelmed Adult: 2 in 1 Bundle: Sleep Meditation Stories to Find Your Inner Calm, Fall Asleep Fast, and Wake up Energized by Mindfulness Habits Team, narrated by Loula Taylor

Publisher Summary:

There’s a reason psychologists and child experts suggest reading a bedtime story to your kid.

Listening to a soothing, relaxing, and fun story before you close your eyes can help you unwind faster and enjoy deeper sleep.

Are you too old to jump into your parents’ bed and ask them to read you a bedtime story? No problem!

Our Bedtime Stories for the Overwhelmed Adult: 2 in 1 Bundle includes two audiobooks for busy, stressed adults: “Bedtime Stories for Stressed Adults: Sleep Meditation Stories to Melt Stress and Fall Asleep Fast Every Night” and “Bedtime Stories for Busy Adults: Sleep Meditation Stories to Find Your Inner Calm, Fall Asleep Fast, and Wake up Energized.”

It’s time to spoil your mind, body, and soul with a generous dose of calmness and serenity.

Read more and sample the audio →



Soothing sounds to help you relax


Tropical Rainforest and Ocean Waves: The Better Sleep System – The Smarter Way to Fall Asleep Fast and Stay Asleep: Deep Sleep Hypnosis and Meditation with Natural Relaxing Sounds by Sara Stevenson, narrated by Tiana Hanson

Publisher Summary:

Do you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep? 

Cure your insomnia with the best natural sleep therapy you can get. Turn on the audio and relax as the soothing ocean waves and tropical rainforest sounds of a secluded beach in Costa Rica effortlessly lull you to sleep. Each audio is the perfect 8 hours in length for the optimal night’s sleep. 

Simply start the audio when going to bed and when the soothing sounds end its time to get up, it’s that simple! At the end of eight hours, you’ve achieved the perfect night’s sleep and you will feel totally rested, rejuvenated, and ready to attack the day!

Read more and sample the audio →


Soothing Sounds by Twin Sisters Productions, narrated by Kopperhead Compositions

Publisher Summary:

Authentic household sounds create a sleep environment for baby and anyone in the household in need of a good night’s sleep.

Track List:
1. Clothes Dryer Drone
2. Window Fan Hum
3. Pitter-Patter Bathwater
4. Vacuum Cleaner Rumble
5. White Noise
6. A Ride In The Car

Read more and sample the audio →


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September’s Top 10 Audiobooks.com Member Downloads

Listen to last month’s most popular fiction and non-fiction titles downloaded by Audiobooks.com members.


Fiction

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer, narrated by Jake Abel 

Publisher Summary:

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?

Read more and sample the audio →


All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny, narrated by Robert Bathurst

Publisher Summary:

On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life.

When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades.

A gruesome discovery in Stephen’s Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.

Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.

For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.

Read more and sample the audio →


Shadows in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel by J. D. Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen

Publisher Summary:

While Eve examines a fresh body in Washington Square Park, her husband, Roarke, spots a man among the onlookers he’s known since his younger days on the streets of Dublin. A man who claims to be his half brother. A man who kills for a living—and who burns with hatred for him.

Eve is quick to suspect that the victim’s spouse—resentful over his wife’s affair and poised to inherit her fortune—would have happily paid an assassin to do his dirty work. Roarke is just as quick to warn her that if Lorcan Cobbe is the hitman, she needs to be careful. Law enforcement agencies worldwide have pursued this cold-hearted killer for years, to no avail. And his lazy smirk when he looked Roarke’s way indicates that he will target anyone who matters to Roarke…and is confident he’ll get away with it.

Eve is desperate to protect Roarke. Roarke is desperate to protect Eve. And together, they’re determined to find Cobbe before he finds them—even if it takes them across the Atlantic, far outside Eve’s usual jurisdiction…

Read more and sample the audio →


Total Power by Kyle Mills and Vince Flynn, narrated by George Guidall

Publisher Summary:

When Mitch Rapp captures ISIS’s top technology expert, he reveals that he was on his way to meet a man who claims to have the ability to bring down America’s power grid. Rapp is determined to eliminate this shadowy figure, but the CIA’s trap fails.

The Agency is still trying to determine what went wrong when ISIS operatives help this cyber terrorist do what he said he could—plunge the country into darkness. With no concept of how this unprecedented act was accomplished, the task of getting the power back on could take months. Perhaps even years.

Rapp and his team embark on a desperate search for the only people who know how to repair the damage—the ones responsible. But his operating environment is like nothing he’s experienced before. Computers and communication networks are down, fuel can no longer be pumped from gas stations, water and sanitation systems are on the brink of collapse, and the supply of food is running out.

Can Rapp get the lights back on before America descends irretrievably into chaos?

Read more and sample the audio →


Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, narrated by Marin Ireland

Publisher Summary:

Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers begin slowly opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

First is Zara, a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else until tragedy changed her life. Now, she’s obsessed with visiting open houses to see how ordinary people live—and, perhaps, to send an old wrong to right. Then there’s Roger and Anna-Lena, an Ikea-addicted retired couple who are on a never-ending hunt for fixer-uppers to hide the fact that they don’t know how to fix their own failing marriage. Julia and Ro are a young lesbian couple and soon-to-be parents who are nervous about their chances for a successful life together since they can’t agree on anything. And there’s Estelle, an eighty year-old woman who has lived long enough to be unimpressed by a masked bank robber waving a gun in her face. And despite the story she tells them all, Estelle hasn’t really come to the apartment to view it for her daughter, and her husband really isn’t outside parking the car.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

Read more and sample the audio →


Non-Fiction

Rage by Bob Woodward, narrated by Robert Petkoff

Publisher Summary:

Bob Woodward, the #1 international bestselling author of Fear: Trump in the White House, has uncovered the precise moment the president was warned that the Covid-19 epidemic would be the biggest national security threat to his presidency. In dramatic detail, Woodward takes readers into the Oval Office as Trump’s head pops up when he is told in January 2020 that the pandemic could reach the scale of the 1918 Spanish Flu that killed 675,000 Americans.

In 17 on-the-record interviews with Woodward over seven volatile months—an utterly vivid window into Trump’s mind—the president provides a self-portrait that is part denial and part combative interchange mixed with surprising moments of doubt as he glimpses the perils in the presidency and what he calls the “dynamite behind every door.”

At key decision points, Rage shows how Trump’s responses to the crises of 2020 were rooted in the instincts, habits and style he developed during his first three years as president.

Revisiting the earliest days of the Trump presidency, Rage reveals how Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats struggled to keep the country safe as the president dismantled any semblance of collegial national security decision making.

Rage draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand witnesses as well as participants’ notes, emails, diaries, calendars and confidential documents.

Woodward obtained 25 never-seen personal letters exchanged between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who describes the bond between the two leaders as out of a “fantasy film.”

Trump insists to Woodward he will triumph over Covid-19 and the economic calamity. “Don’t worry about it, Bob. Okay?” Trump told the author in July. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll get to do another book. You’ll find I was right.”

Read more and sample the audio →


Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day by Jay Shetty, narrated by Jay Shetty

Publisher Summary:

Jay Shetty, social media superstar and host of the #1 podcast On Purpose, distills the timeless wisdom he learned as a monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a less anxious, more meaningful life.

Shetty grew up in a family where you could become one of three things—a doctor, a lawyer, or a failure. His family was convinced he had chosen option three: instead of attending his college graduation ceremony, he headed to India to become a monk, to meditate every day for four to eight hours, and devote his life to helping others. After three years, one of his teachers told him that he would have more impact on the world if he left the monk’s path to share his experience and wisdom with others. Heavily in debt, and with no recognizable skills on his résumé, he moved back home in north London with his parents.

Shetty reconnected with old school friends—many working for some of the world’s largest corporations—who were experiencing tremendous stress, pressure, and unhappiness, and they invited Shetty to coach them on well-being, purpose, and mindfulness. Since then, Shetty has become one of the world’s most popular influencers. In 2017, he was named in the Forbes magazine 30-under-30 for being a game-changer in the world of media. In 2018, he had the #1 video on Facebook with over 360 million views. His social media following totals over 38 million, he has produced over 400 viral videos which have amassed more than 8 billion views, and his podcast, On Purpose, is consistently ranked the world’s #1 Health and Wellness podcast.

In this inspiring, empowering book, Shetty draws on his time as a monk to show us how we can clear the roadblocks to our potential and power. Combining ancient wisdom and his own rich experiences in the ashram, Think Like a Monk reveals how to overcome negative thoughts and habits, and access the calm and purpose that lie within all of us. He transforms abstract lessons into advice and exercises we can all apply to reduce stress, improve relationships, and give the gifts we find in ourselves to the world. Shetty proves that everyone can—and should—think like a monk.

Read more and sample the audio →


Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, narrated by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff

Publisher Summary:

What Melania wants, Melania gets.

The former director of special events at Vogue and producer of nine legendary Met Galas, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff met Melania Knauss in 2003 and had a front row seat to the transformation of Donald Trump’s then girlfriend from a rough-cut gem to a precious diamond. As their friendship deepened over lunches at Manhattan hot spots, black-tie parties, and giggle sessions in the penthouse at Trump Tower, Wolkoff watched the newest Mrs. Trump raise her son, Barron, and manage her highly scrutinized marriage.

After Trump won the 2016 election, Wolkoff was recruited to help produce the 58th Presidential Inaugu­ration and to become the First Lady’s trusted advisor. Melania put Wolkoff in charge of hiring her staff, organizing her events, helping her write speeches, and creating her debut initiatives. Then it all fell apart when she was made the scapegoat for inauguration finance irregularities. Melania could have defended her innocent friend and confidant, but she stood by her man, knowing full well who was really to blame. The betrayal nearly destroyed Wolkoff.

In this candid and emotional memoir, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff takes you into Trump Tower and the White House to tell the funny, thrilling, and heartbreaking story of her intimate friendship with one of the most famous women in the world, a woman few people truly understand.

How did Melania react to the Access Hollywood tape and her husband’s affair with Stormy Daniels? Does she get along well with Ivanka? Why did she wear that jacket with “I really don’t care, do u?” printed on the back? Is Melania happy being First Lady? And what really happened with the inauguration’s funding of $107 million? Wolkoff has some ideas.

Read more and sample the audio →


Atomic Habits by James Clear, narrated by James Clear

Publisher Summary:

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits–whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.

Read more and sample the audio →


Killing Crazy Horse: The Merciless Indian Wars in America by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, narrated by Bill O’Reilly and Robert Petkoff

Publisher Summary:

The bloody Battle of Tippecanoe was only the beginning. It’s 1811 and President James Madison has ordered the destruction of Shawnee warrior chief Tecumseh’s alliance of tribes in the Great Lakes region. But while General William Henry Harrison would win this fight, the armed conflict between Native Americans and the newly formed United States would rage on for decades.

In Killing Crazy Horse bestselling authors Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard venture through the fraught history of our country’s founding on already occupied lands, from General Andrew Jackson’s brutal battles with the Creek Nation to President James Monroe’s epic “sea to shining sea” policy, to President Martin Van Buren’s cruel enforcement of a “treaty” that forced the Cherokee Nation out of their homelands along what would be called the Trail of Tears. O’Reilly and Dugard take listeners behind the legends to reveal never-before-told historical moments in the fascinating creation story of America.

This fast-paced, wild ride through the American frontier will shock listeners and impart unexpected lessons that reverberate to this day.

Read more and sample the audio →


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Interview with Ben Dolnick, Author of ‘The Wolf’s Mother Speaks’

Interview courtesy of Recorded Books

In The Wolf’s Mother Speaks, Ben Dolnick takes listeners on an unforgettable, hauntingly funny journey alongside a mother whose love takes many forms. A mother (Joyce) finds out a secret about her estranged adult son, namely that he regularly turns completely into a wolf. No, not a werewolf half-man half-wolf creature, but a full-on actual wolf. It’s out of his control when it happens, and he’s done some terrible things. Once Joyce finds out, she goes to great lengths to help her beloved son. But as the novel unfolds, the narrative explores ideas not only of survival and murder and familial devotion in the face of the most challenging and unbelievable circumstances, but also of mental illness if not actual insanity. The result is a thrill ride with a lot of bumps and a substantial body count. Here Ben talks about his new audiobook!

1. In The Wolf’s Mother Speaks, the main character Joyce is dealing with a painful estrangement from her son, which seems very realistic, and then things take a turn into the supernatural. Where did the inspiration for The Wolf’s Mother Speaks come from?

I think the first inkling I had of this book was when, years ago, I read a story about a serial killer being arrested at his house in Kansas. This was one of those situations in which the killer has a wife, a family, neighbors who think they know him, the whole domestic scene. And I was so fascinated, particularly by his family members—what did they know? What did they think of him now? 

But I knew that I didn’t want to write a standard serial killer book—I love a good serial killer novel (Red Dragon is one of the more compelling books I’ve ever read), but I didn’t want to write something with forensics, FBI agents, etc; I was after something weirder. 

So, I handed those inputs—some murder, some family dynamics, some strangeness—to the mysterious mental organ where novels gestate, and out popped this book!

2. Was the writing process different for this book from how it was for your previous novels (The Ghost NotebooksZoologyYou Know Who You Are, and At the Bottom of Everything)?

This was a much more “spoken” book than those—which is to say that the vast majority of the book is actually purporting to be transcribed speech. That made this book lots of fun to write—I love nothing more, as a writer, than doing various voices—but it also made for various narrative challenges. People tell stories very differently than they write them—there was no room for literary tricks, or elegant descriptions, or anything like that. It’s a much more compact and slangy sort of writing.  

3. You’re an avid audiobook listener, which we love to hear! What is it about audiobooks that speaks to you, both in your personal listening, and as a writer?

Yes, audiobooks are the best! I’ve always thought of writing, despite the silence in which it takes place, as fundamentally an auditory medium. When I walk into a library where everybody’s quietly reading in their little carrels or whatever, I see it like one of those weird silent raves, where everybody’s wearing headphones and quietly thrashing around in ecstasy. This person is hearing Vonnegut, this person is hearing Toni Morrison, this person is hearing Murakami—and all that hearing is taking place entirely internally.

So audiobooks just make that aural quality of writing even more tangible. I spent a lot of the quarantine so far—55 hours of it, in fact!—listening to War and Peace, and I don’t think I could have gotten through it, certainly not with such pleasure, if I had just been reading it. Each character, however long it had been since I’d heard from them, was immediately identifiable by their voice. It felt even more intimate than reading, in a way. My eyes can skim or rush in a way that my ears usually don’t. 

4. What was it like hearing your previous novels in audiobook form for the first time? 

It was amazing! I was so used to hearing the books in my head—by the time a book is published, you can all but recite it—but here it was actually taking form in space, in the sound of a stranger’s voice. And it was fascinating to hear the little choices the readers made, both at the sentence-level and in terms of character. It was kind of a bittersweet thing, like (I imagine) watching a kid go off to college—you’ve worked so hard on this thing and off it goes to lead an independent existence, no longer under even the illusion of your control.

5. What do you personally like to read or listen to?

Everything! Lately I’ve been listening to classics—I’m moved onto Proust, after finishing War and Peace—but I also listen to lots of Buddhist stuff (Already Free by Bruce Tift is a recent favorite). And reading-wise I’m all over the place. I read a lot of thrillers — police procedurals (Ed McBain is great), supernatural stuff (Dracula, Frankenstein), espionage (Eye of the Needle is truly amazing). Lately I’ve been reading some more experimental fiction—Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual, a bunch by Mark Leyner, some Gerald Murnane. My bedside table is basically a perpetual avalanche of things I’m halfway through.

6. If you could curate a shelf for The Wolf’s Mother Speaks to sit on, what other books would be on it?

It would have to be an eccentric shelf! I think I’d love to put it somewhere between the funny, experimental, voice-obsessed books of, say, George Saunders and David Foster Wallace, on one side—and then on the other side I’d like to have the plotty, efficient novels of Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, Stepford Wives, etc.). Oh, and let’s put some Alice Munro on that shelf too! She is hands-down the best at all things related to families—and she’s got quite a way with plot too. That would be a shelf where my book would live very, very happily.

7. What’s your favorite scary story?

I think Ira Levin’s [The] Boys from Brazil is my favorite of the moment. It’s tense and strange and brilliantly told. The whole last third—which I feel like I can’t describe at all without spoiling it—is just hilariously compelling. He’s able to do that Hitchcock thing of making you hold your breath for minutes at a time while the characters walk a tightrope over a flaming pit. ∎


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Staff Pick: Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Title: Charlotte’s Web
Author: E. B. White
Narrators: Meryl StreepRobin MilesKirby HeyborneCassandra CampbellKimberly FarrLincoln HoppeMark DeakinsTavia GilbertDanny CampbellEmily RankinJanuary LavoyMacleod Andrews, Bahni Turpin, Julia Whelan

“Terrific.” “Radiant.” “Humble.”

It turns out that the words of praise Charlotte the spider writes in her web to describe Wilbur the pig, are equally suitable when considering the audiobook of this classic story.

Helmed by the unparalleled Meryl Streep as the narrator, this recent version is the first re-release since author E. B. White’s beloved original recording from 1970. It’s a short and sweet listen – only 4 hours long – but one I know I’ll return to. The adventures of Charlotte, Wilbur and the Arable children are phenomenally brought to life in this full-cast production, in which no narrator does double-duty. For audiobook lovers, the supporting cast is a who’s who of nearly two dozen prolific narrators: January Lavoy plays Charlotte with superb subtlety; Cassandra Campbell is a nuanced Mrs Zuckerman; Tavia Gilbert is a very fun Goose; Emily Rankin expertly plays Fern; Bahni Turpin is a wonderfully memorable Lamb; even Julia Whelan makes a small cameo as Charlotte’s daughter, Joy.

Charlotte’s Web is a masterpiece of juvenile literature for its moral sensibility, quotable truisms, depth of feeling, and fantastic sense of humor. White’s prose, while of course suitable for children, can truly be appreciated only in adulthood. I was particularly touched by the gentle melancholy with which he describes the changing of the seasons – so resonant for me at this time of year:

The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad monotonous song. “Summer is over and gone, over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.” A little maple tree heard the cricket song and turned bright red with anxiety.

The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year — the days when summer is changing into fall the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.

Everybody heard the song of the crickets. Avery and Fern Arable heard it as they walked the dusty road. They knew that school would soon begin again. The young geese heard it and knew that they would never be little goslings again. Charlotte heard it and knew that she hadn’t much time left. Mrs. Zuckerman, at work in the kitchen, heard the crickets, and a sadness came over her, too. “Another summer gone,” she sighed. 

Sad, sweet, and true – and when read to you by Meryl Streep (et. al.), nothing short of breathtaking. Charlotte’s Web is my staff pick for September for now is truly the perfect time of year to enjoy this story, but it’s also now one of my top recommendations of all time.

Publisher Summary:

Brought to life by Meryl Streep and a full cast, this beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children’s literature that is ‘just about perfect.’

Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spider web tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.

E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

Includes an appreciation written and read by Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet, the cover artist of this edition and author/illustrator of Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White.

Read more and sample the audio →


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Fun in the Sun: 8 Breezy Beach Listens

Summer is finally here! I really didn’t think this time would ever come, but now here we are. And now that certain areas are starting to enter different phases of quarantine, some beaches and splash pads are opening up (with social distancing in place still, of course). This means it’s time for some breezy beachy listens to go along with your fun in the sun.

So, whether you’re thanking all the stars in the sky that you can go sunbathe on a beach again, or thinking you’ll enjoy the sun from the comfort of your home instead, you’re sure to find your perfect next listen to entertain you while you do so. Be sure to check out our full Breezy Summer Listens booklist here and hey, don’t forget your sunscreen!


The Guest List by Lucy Foley, narrated by Jot DaviesChloe MasseySarah OvensRich KeebleAoife McmahonOlivia Dowd

A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric thriller reminiscent of Agatha Christie from the New York Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party.

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather for a wedding fit for celebrities. Even though the cell phone reception is spotty, the happy couple has planned every single detail of their big day, but as the celebrations begin secrets old and new, jealousy, and betrayal are uncovered and then someone turns up dead.

Pick up the latest from Lucy Foley for a whirlwind mystery that will keep you guessing right until the end! Perfect for the long drive up to the cottage or while sitting around the roaring fire.

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The House on Fripp Island by Rebecca Kauffman, narrated by Susan Bennett

Fripp Island, South Carolina, is the perfect destination for the wealthy Daly family: Lisa, Scott, and their two girls. For Lisa’s childhood friend Poppy Ford, however, the resort island is a world away from what she and her family are used to. Everyone brings secrets to the island, distorting what should be a convivial, relaxing summer on the beach.

The ones who return from this vacation will spend the rest of their lives trying to process what they witnessed, the tipping points, moments of violence and tenderness, and the memory of whom they left behind.

Let The House on Fripp Island accompany you for happy hour while you chill poolside with a drink in hand.

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The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis, narrated by Erin Mallon

Brynn Turner, in need of a fresh start, heads back home to Wildstone. And then there’s Kinsey Davis, who is at her wits end after dealing with health issues for the past 29 years, plus she’s keeping more than one secret from Brynn, her long-time frenemy.

Once Brynn runs into Kiney’s best friend Eli, she starts thinking she could really find love and a future if she could just let go of the past.

If you’re planning a lazy beach day this summer, then you’ll definitely want to have this audiobook ready to go. It’ll give you all the best kind of summer vibes.

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The Girl From Widow Hill by Megan Miranda, narrated by Rebekkah Ross

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last House Guest comes a new psychology suspense listen about a young woman who is plagued by night terrors after a childhood trauma who wakes one evening to find a corpse at her feet.

This listen is one of those unputdownable, can’t-stop-listening types of suspenseful audiobooks that you’ll zoom right through. There’s something about the summer heat that just makes thrillers that much better, don’t you think?

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The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel, narrated by Soneela Nankani

Liya Thakkar is a successful biochemical engineer who is happily single. When she realizes that her parents latest dinner party is a setup with the man they want her to marry, she’s out of there! To her surprise and both their dismay, the same man shows up a week later to her workplace. Turns out he’s the lawyer that has been hired to rescue her struggling company.

As they get to know one another, can Liya give real love a chance or will she keep running? Find out in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that will just make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan, narrated by Brittany Pressley

Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer fifteen years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, but when he passes away unexpectedly one night the daughters return to their childhood home.

As they navigate their grief and throw their father an Irish wake, a surprise guest arrives and it turns out that she’s a Sweeney sister too. What does this mean for their father’s legacy? And how will this new sister fit in?

This perfect summery listen is equal parts cautionary tale and celebration—a festive and heartfelt look at what truly makes a family.

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The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine, narrated by Julia Whelan, Meghan Wolf

The bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish is back with a new psychological thriller, filled with serpentine twists, about a woman fighting to hold onto the only family she’s ever loved—and how far she’ll go to preserve it.

Joanna is waiting for her husband to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him, so when he begins to return to his charming energetic self, she couldn’t be more thankful. Unfortunately, this his renewed happiness is from falling head over heels for someone else.

After her husband leaves her behind she starts to dig into this new girl’s past and finds some disturbing secrets, but her therapist brushes off her concerns. Can she find proof in time to save her family?

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Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson, narrated by Keylor Leigh

When their foster-turned-adoptive mother suddenly dies, four brothers struggle to keep open the doors of her beloved Harlem knitting shop.

Jesse Strong is passionate about keeping the shop open, but his brothers aren’t exactly on board. Part-time shop employee, Kerry Fuller, who has been crushing on Jesse, offers to help him with the daunting task.

As they spend more time together and work toward reinventing the shop for a new generation their chemistry builds, but Jesse has to prove that his past doesn’t dictate his future and that he can be the man for her forever and always.

Pick up this charming and light-hearted listen if you’re looking for something cute and breezy.

Read more and sample the audio →


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